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-the background to one dark and melancholy | fortunate in his domestic relations; the public figure. treated him with cruel injustice; his health and spirits suffered from his dissipated habits of life; he was, on the whole, an unhappy man. He early discovered that, by parading his unhappiness before the multitude, he excited an unrivalled interest. The world gave him every encouragement to talk about his mental sufferings. The effect which his first confessions produced, induced him to affect much that he did not feel; and the affectation probably reacted on his feelings. How far the character in which he exhibited himself was genuine, and how far theatrical, would probably have puzzled himself to say.
Never had any writer so vast a command of the whole eloquence of scorn, misanthropy, and despair. That Marah was never dry. No art could sweeten, no draughts could exhaust, its perennial waters of bitterness. Never was there such variety in monotony as that of Byron. From maniac laughter to piercing lamentation, there was not a single note of human anguish of which he was not master. Year after year, and month after month, he continued to repeat that to be wretched is the destiny of all; that to be eminently wretched, is the destiny of the eminent; that all the desires by which we are cursed lead alike to misery; if they are not gratified, to the misery of disappointment; if they are gratified, to the misery of satiety. His principal heroes are men who have arrived by different roads at the same goal of despair, who are sick of life, who are at war with society, who are supported in their anguish only by an unconquerable pride, resembling that of Prometheus on the rock, or of Satan in the burning marl; who can master their agonies by the force of their will, and who, to the last, defy the whole power of earth and heaven. He always described himself as a man of the same kind with his favourite creations, as a man whose heart had been withered, whose capacity for happiness was gone, and could not be restored; but whose invincible spirit dared the worst that could befall him here or hereafter.
There can be no doubt that this remarkable man owed the vast influence which he exercised over his contemporaries, at least as much to his gloomy egotism as to the real power of his poetry. We never could very clearly understand how it is that egotism, so unpopular in conversation, should be so popu lar in writing; or how it is that men who affect in their compositions qualities and feelings which they have not, impose so much more easily on their contemporaries than on posterity. The interest which the loves of Petrarch excited in his own time, and the pitying fondness with which half Europe looked upon Rousseau, are well known. To readers of our time, the love of Petrarch seems to have been love of that kind which breaks no hearts; and the sufferings of Rousseau to have deserved laughter rather than pity-to have been partly counterfeited, and partly the consequences of his own perverseness and vanity.
How much of this morbid feeling sprung from an original disease of mind, how much from real misfortune, how much from the What our grandchildren may think of the nervousness of dissipation, how much of it was character of Lord Byron, as exhibited in his fanciful, how much of it was merely affected, poetry, we will not pretend to guess. It is It is impossible for us, and would probably certain, that the interest which he excited durhave been impossible for the most intimate ing his life is without a parallel in literary friends of Lord Byron, to decide. Whether history. The feeling with which young readthere ever existed, or can ever exist, a personers of poetry regarded him, can be conceived answering to the description which he gave of only by those who have experienced it. To himself, may be doubted: but that he was not people who are unacquainted with the real casuch a person is beyond all doubt. It is ri-lamity, " nothing is so dainty sweet as lovely diculous to imagine that a man whose mind was really imbued with scorn of his fellow creatures, would have published three or four books every year in order to tell them so; or that a man, who could say with truth that he neither sought sympathy nor needed it, would have admitted all Europe to hear his farewell to his wife, and his biessings on his child. In the second canto of Childe Harold, he tells us that he is insensible to fame and obloquy :
"Ill may such contest now the spirit move,
Which beeds nor keen reproof nor partial praise." Yet we know, on the best evidence, that a day or two before he published these lines, he was greatly, indeed childishly, elated by the compliments paid to his maiden speech in the House of Lords.
melancholy." This faint image of sorrow has in all ages been considered by young gentlemen as an agreeable excitement. Old gentlemen and middle-aged gentlemen have so many real causes of sadness, that they are rarely inclined "to be as sad as night only for wantonness." Indeed they want the power almost as much as the inclination. We know very few persons engaged in active life, who, even if they were to procure stools to be melancholy upon, and were to sit down with all the pre meditation of Master Stephen, would be able to enjoy much of what somebody calls the "ecstasy of wo."
Among that large class of young persons whose reading is almost entirely confined to works of imagination, the popularity of Lord We are far, however, from thinking that his Byron was unbounded. They bought pictures sadness was altogether feigned. He was na- of him, they treasured up the smallest relics turally a man of great sensibility; he had been of him; they learned his poems by heart, and ill-educated; his feelings had been early ex- did their best to write like him, and to look posed to sharp trials; he had been crossed in like him. Many of them practised at the glass, his boyish love; he had been mortified by the in the hope of catching the curl of the upper failure of his first literary efforts; he was strait-lip, and the scowl of the brow, which appeat ened in pecuniary circumstances; he was un-in some of his portraits. A few discarded
their neckcloths in imitation of their great leader. For some years, the Minerva press sent forth no novel without a mysterious, unhappy, Lara-like peer. The number of hopeful undergraduates and medical students who became things of dark imaginings, on whom the freshness of the heart ceased to fall like dew, whose passions had consumed themselves to dust, and to whom the relief of tears was denied, passes all calculation. This was not the worst. There was created in the minds of many of these enthusiasts, a pernicious and absurd association between intellectual power and moral depravity. From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics, compounded of misanthropy and voluptuousness: a system in which the two great commandments
were, to hate your neighbour, and to love your neighbour's wife.
This affectation has passed away; and a few more years will destroy whatever yet remains of that magical potency which once belonged to the name of Byron. To us he is still a man, young, noble, and unhappy. To our children he will be merely a writer; and their impartial judgment will appoint his place among writers, without regard to his rank or to his private history. That his poetry will undergo a severe sifting; that much of what has been admired by his contemporaries will be rejected as worthless, we have little doubt. But we have as little doubt, that, after the closest scrutiny, there will still remain much that can only perish with the English language.
SOUTHEY'S EDITION OF THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS."
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1831.]
have attempted to illustrate the Paradise Lost. There can be no two manners more directly opposed to each other, than the manner of his painting and the manner of Milton's poetry. Those things which are mere accessaries in the descriptions, became the principal objects in the pictures; and those figures which are most prominent in the descriptions can be detected in the pictures only by a very close scrutiny. Mr. Martin has succeeded perfectly
Turs is an eminently beautiful and splendid | in his choice of subjects. He should never edition of a book which well deserves all that the printer and the engraver can do for it. The life of Bunyan is, of course, not a performance which can add much to the literary reputation of such a writer as Mr. Southey. But it is written in excellent English, and, for the most part, in an excellent spirit. Mr. Southey propounds, we need not say, many opinions from which we altogether dissent; and his attempts to excuse the odious persecution to which Bunyan was subjected, have some-in representing the pillars and candelabras of times moved our indignation. But we will avoid this topic. We are at present much more inclined to join in paying homage to the genius of a great man, than to engage in a controversy concerning church government and toleration.
Pandemonium. But he has forgotten that Milton's Pandemonium is merely the background to Satan. In the picture, the Archangel is scarcely visible amidst the endless colonnades of his infernal palace. Milton's Paradise, again, is merely the background to his Adam and Eve. But in Mr. Martin's picture the landscape is every thing. Adam, Eve, and Raphael attract much less notice than the
We must not pass without notice the engravings with which this beautiful volume is decorated. Some of Mr. Heath's woodcuts are admirably designed and executed. Mr. Mar-lake and the mountains, the gigantic flowers, tin's illustrations do not please us quite so and the giraffes which feed upon them. We well. His Valley of the Shadow of Death is have read, we forget where, that James the not that Valley of the Shadow of Death which Second sat to Verelst, the great flower-painter. Bunyan imagined. At all events, it is not that When the performance was finished, his madark and horrible glen which has from child-jesty appeared in the midst of sunflowers and hood been in our mind's eye. The valley is a cavern: the quagmire is a lake: the straight path runs zigzag: and Christian appears like a speck in the darkness of the immense vault. We miss, too, those hideous forms which make so striking a part of the description of Bunyan, and which Salvator Rosa would have loved to draw. It is with unfeigned diffidence that we pronounce judgment on any question relating to the art of painting. But it appears to us that Mr. Martin has not of late been fortunate
✦ The Pilgrim's Progress, with a life of John Bunyan. By ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq., LL.D., Poet Laureate.
ustrated with Engravings. 8vo. London. 1830.
tulips, which completely drew away all atten tion from the central figure. All who looked at the portrait took it for a flower-piece. Mr. Martin, we think, introduces his immeasurable spaces, his innumerable multitudes, his gor geous prodigies of architecture and landscape, almost as unseasonably as Verelst introduced his flower-pots and nosegays. If Mr. Martin were to paint Lear in the storm, the blazing sky, the sheets of rain, the swollen terrents, and the tossing forest, would draw away all attention from the agonies of the insulted king and father. If he were to paint the death of Lear the old man, asking the bystanders to
walked persons clothed all in gold; the cross and the sepulchre; the steep hill and the plea sant arbour; the stately front of the House Beautiful by the wayside; the low green valley of Humiliation, rich with grass and covered with flocks, all are as well known to us as the sights of our own street. Then we come to the narrow place where Apollyon strode right across the whole breadth of the way, to stop the journey of Christian, and where afterwards the pillar was set up to testify how bravely the pilgrim had fought the good fight. As we advance, the valley becomes deeper and deeper. The shade of the precipices on both sides falls blacker and blacker. The clouds gather over.
undo his button, would be thrown into the are not should be as though they were, that the shade by a vast blaze of pavilions, standards, imaginations of one mind should become the armour, and herald's coats. He would illus personal recollections of another. And this trate the Orlando Furioso well, the Orlando miracle the tinker has wrought. There is no Innamorato still better, the Arabian Nights ascent, no declivity, no resting-place, no turnbest of all. Fairy palaces and gardens, porti- stile, with which we are not perfectly acquaintcoes of agate, and groves flowering with eme- ed. The wicket gate, and the desolate swamp ralds and rubies, inhabited by people for whom which separates it from the City of Destruc nobody cares, these are his proper domain. tion; the long line of road, as straight as a rule He would succeed admirably in the enchanted can make it; the Interpreter's house, and all ground of Alcina, or the mansion of Aladdin. its fair shows; the prisoner in the iron cage; But he should avoid Milton and Bunyan. the palace, at the doors of which armed men The characteristic peculiarity of the Pil-kept guard, and on the battlements of which grim's Progress is, that it is the only work of its kind which possesses a strong human interest. Other allegories only amuse the fancy. The allegory of Bunyan has been read by many thousands with tears. There are some good allegories in Johnson's works, and some of still higher merit by Addison. In these performances there is, perhaps, as much wit and ingenuity as in the Pilgrim's Progress. But the pleasure which is produced by the Vision of Mirza, or the Vision of Theodore, the genealogy of Wit, or the contest between Rest and Labour, is exactly similar to the pleasure which we derive from one of Cowley's Odes, or from a Canto of Hudibras. It is a pleasure | which belongs wholly to the understanding, head. Doleful voices, the clanking of chains, and in which the feelings have no part whatever. Nay, even Spenser himself, though assuredly one of the greatest poets that ever lived, could not succeed in the attempt to make allegory interesting. It was in vain that he lavished the riches of his mind on the House of Pride, and the House of Temperance. One unpardonable fault, the fault of tediousness, pervades the whole of the Faerie Queen. We become sick of Cardinal Virtues and Deadly Sins, and long for the society of plain men and women. Of the persons who read the first Canto, not one in ten reaches the end of the Then the road passes straight on through a First Book, and not one in a hundred perse-waste moor, till at length the towers of a disveres to the end of the poem. Very few and very weary are those who are in at the death of the Blatant Beast. If the last six books, which are said to have been destroyed in Ireland, had been preserved, we doubt whether any heart less stout than that of a commentator would have held out to the end.
It is not so with the Pilgrim's Progress. That wonderful book, while it obtains admiration from the most fastidious critics, is loved by those who are too simple to admire it. Doctor Johnson, all whose studies were desultory, and who hated, as he said, to read books through, made an exception in favour of the Pilgrim's Progress. That work, he said, was one of the two or three works which he wished longer. It was by no common merit that the illiterate sectary extracted praise like this from the most pedantic of critics and the most bigoted of Tories. In the wildest parts of Scotlard the Pilgrim's Progress is the delight of the peasantry. In every nursery the Pilgrim's Progress is a greater favourite than Jack the Giant-Killer. Every reader knows the straight and narrow pathi, as well as he knows a road in which he has gone backward and forward a hundred times. This is the highest miracle of genius-that things which Voz. L-17
and the rushing of many feet to and fro, are heard through the darkness. The way, hardly discernible in gloom, runs close by the mouth of the burning pit, which sends forth its flames its noisome smoke, and its hideous shapes, to terrify the adventurer. Thence he goes on, amidst the snares and pitfalls, with the mangled bodies of those who have perished lying in the ditch by his side. At the end of the long dark valley, he passes the dens in which the old giants dwelt, amidst the bones and ashes of those whom they had slain.
tant city appear before the traveller; and soon he is in the midst of the innumerable multitudes of Vanity Fair. There are the jugglers" and the apes, the shops and the puppet-shows. There are Italian Row, and French Row, and Spanish Row, and Britain Row, with their crowds of buyers, sellers, and loungers, jabbering all the languages of the earth.
Thence we go on by the little hill of the sil ver mine, and through the meadow of lilies, along the bank of that pleasant river which is bordered on both sides by fruit trees. On the left side, branches off the path leading to that horrible castle, the court-yard of which is paved with the skulls of pilgrims; and right onward are the sheepfolds and orchards of the Delectable Mountains.
From the Delectable Mountains, the way lies through the fogs and briers of the Enchanted Ground, with here and there a bed of soft cushions spread under a green arbour. And beyond is the land of Beulah, where the flowers, the grapes, and the songs of birds never cease, and where the sun shines night and day. Thence are plainly seen the golden pavements and streets of pearl, on the other side of that black and cold river over which there is no bridge.
But we must return to Bunyan. The PilAll the stages of the journey, all the forms which cross or overtake the pilgrims, grim's Progress undoubtedly is not a perfect giants and hobgoblins, ill-favoured ones allegory. The types are often inconsistent and shining ones; the tall, comely, swarthy with each other; and sometimes the allegoriMadam Bubble, with her great purse by her cal disguise is altogether thrown off. The side, and her fingers playing with the money; river, for example, is emblematic of death, the black man in the bright vesture; Mr. and we are told that every human being must Worldly-Wiseman, and my Lord Hategood; pass through the river. But Faithful does not Mr. Talkative, and Mrs. Timorous-are all pass through it. He is martyred, not in shaWe follow the dow, but in reality, at Vanity Fair. Hopeful actually existing beings to us. travellers through their allegorical progress talks to Christian about Esau's birthright, and with interest not inferior to that with which about his own convictions of sin, as Bunyan we follow Elizabeth from Siberia to Moscow, might have talked with one of his own con or Jeanie Deans from Edinburgh to London. gregation. The damsels at the House BeautiBunyan is almost the only writer that ever ful catechise Christiana's boys, as any good gave to the abstract the interest of the con- ladies might catechise any boys at a Sunday. crete. In the works of many celebrated au- school. But we do not believe that any man, thors, men are mere personifications. We whatever might be his genius, and whatever have not an Othello, but jealousy; not an Iago, his good luck, could long continue a figurative but perfidy; not a Brutus, but patriotism. history without falling into many inconsist The mind of Bunyan, on the contrary, was so encies. We are sure that inconsistencies, imaginative, that personifications, when he scarcely less gross than the worst into which dealt with them, became men. A dialogue Bunyan has fallen, may be found in the shortbetween two qualities in his dream, has more est and most elaborate allegories of the Specdramatic effect than a dialogue between two tator and the Rambler. The Tale of a Tub and human beings in most plays. In this respect the History of John Bull swarm with similar the genius of Bunyan bore a great resem- errors, if the name of error can be properly blance to that of a man who had very little applied to that which is unavoidable. It is not else in common with him, Percy Bysshe Shel- easy to make a simile go on all-fours. But ley. The strong imagination of Shelley made we believe that no human ingenuity could him an idolater in his own despite. Out of produce such a centipede as a long allegory, the most indefinite terms of a hard, cold, dark, in which the correspondence between the outmetaphysical system, he made a gorgeous ward sign and the thing signified should be Pantheon, full of beautiful, majestic, and life- exactly preserved. Certainly no writer, anlike forms. He turned atheism itself into a cient or modern, has yet achieved the advenmythology, rich with visions as glorious as the ture. The best thing, on the whole, that an gods that live in the marble of Phidias, or the allegorist can do, is to present to his readers a virgin saints that smile on us from the canvass succession of analogies, each of which may of Murillo. The Spirit of Beauty, the Prin-separately be striking and happy, without lookciple of Good, the Principle of Evil, when he ing very nicely to see whether they harmonize treated of them, ceased to be abstractions. with each other. This Bunyan has done; and, They took shape and colour. They were no though a minute scrutiny may detect inconlonger mere words; but "intelligible forms;"sistencies in every page of his tale, the general “fair humanities;" objects of love, of adora-effect which the tale produces on all persons, tion, or of fear. As there can be no stronger learned and unlearned, proves that he has done signs of a mind destitute of the poetical faculty well. The passages which it is most difficult than that tendency which was so common to defend, are those in which he altogether among the writers of the French school to turn drops the allegory, and puts into the mouth of images into abstractions-Venus, for example, his pilgrims religious ejaculations and disquiinto Love, Minerva into Wisdom, Mars into sitions, better suited to his own pulpit at BedWar, and Bacchus into Festivity-so there can ford or Reading, than to the Enchanted Ground be no stronger sign of a mind truly poetical, of the Interpreter's Garden. Yet even these than a disposition to reverse this abstracting passages, though we will not undertake to deprocess, and to make individuals out of gene- fend them against the objections of critics, ralities. Some of the metaphysical and ethical we feel that we could ill spare. We feel that theories of Shelley were certainly most absurd the story owes much of its charm to these ocand pernicious. But we doubt whether any casional glimpses of solemn and affecting modern poet has possessed in an equal degree subjects, which will not be hidden, which force the highest qualities of the great ancient mas-themselves through the veil, and appear before ters. The words bard and inspiration, which seem so cold and affected when applied to Lother modern writers, have a perfect propriety when applied to him. He was not an author, but a bard. His poetry seems not to have been an art, but an inspiration. Had he lived to the full age of man, he might not improbably have given to the world some great work of the very highest rank in design and execution. But, Alas!
ο Δαφν ς εβα ροον εκλυσε δινα
τον Μωσαις φιλον ανδρα, τον ου Νύμφαισιν απέχθη
us in their native aspect. The effect is not unlike that which is said to have been produced on the ancient stage, when the eyes of the actor were seen flaming through his mask, and giving life and expression to what would else have been inanimate and uninteresting disguise.
It is very amusing and very instructive to compare the Pilgrim's Progress with the Grace Abounding. The latter work is indeed one of the most remarkable pieces of autobiography in the world. It is a full and open confession
every tinker that ever lived has been a blackguard. Indeed Mr. Southey acknowledges this "Such he might have been expected to be by his birth, breeding, and vocation. Scarcely indeed, by possibility, could he have been otherwise." A man, whose manners and sentiments are decidedly below those of his class, deserves to be called a blackguard. But it is surely unfair to apply so strong a word of reproach to one who is only what the great mass of every community must inevitably be.
of the fancies which passed through the mind of an illiterate man, whose affections were warm, whose nerves were irritable, whose imagination was ungovernable, and who was under the influence of the strongest religious excitement. In whatever age Bunyan had lived, the history of his feelings would, in all probability, have been very curious. But the ime in which his lot was cast was the time of a great stirring of the human mind. A tremendous burst of public feeling, produced by the tyranny of the hierarchy, menaced the old ecclesiastical institutions with destruction. To the gloomy regularity of one intolerant church had succeeded the license of innumerable sects, drunk with the sweet and heady nst of their new liberty. Fanaticism, engidered by persecution, and destined to engender fresh persecution in turn, spread rapid-power over his body and mind. He heard ly through society. Even the strongest and most commanding minds were not proof against this strange taint. Any time might have produced George Fox and James Naylor. But to one time alone belong the frantic delusions of such a statesman as Vane, and the.hysterical tears of such a soldier as Cromwell.
Those horrible internal conflicts which Bunyan has described with so much power of language prove, not that he was a worse man than his neighbours, but that his mind was constantly occupied by religious considera. tions, that his fervour exceeded his knowledge, and that his imagination exercised despotic voices from heaven: he saw strange visions of distant hills, pleasant and sunny as his own Delectable Mountains; from those seats he was shut out, and placed in a dark and horrible wilderness, where he wandered through ice and snow, striving to make his way into the happy region of light. At one time he was The history of Bunyan is the history of a seized with an inclination to work miracles. most excitable mind in an age of excitement. At another time he thought himself actually By most of his biographers he has been treated possessed by the devil. He could distinguish with gross injustice. They have understood the blasphemous whispers. He felt his inferin a popular sense all those strong terms of nal enemy pulling at his clothes behind him. self-condemnation which he employed in a He spurned with his feet, and struck with his theological sense. They have, therefore, re- hands, at the destroyer. Sometimes he was presented him as an abandoned wretch, re- tempted to sell his part in the salvation of manclaimed by means almost miraculous; or, to kind. Sometimes a violent impulse urged him use their favourite metaphor, "as a brand to start up from his food, to fall on his knees, plucked from the burning." Mr. Ivimey calls and break forth into prayer. At length he him the depraved Bunyan, and the wicked fancied that he had committed the unpardontinker of Elstow. Surely Mr. Ivimey oughtable sin. His agony convulsed his robust to have been too familiar with the bitter accu- frame. He was, he says, as if his breastbone sations which the most pious people are in the would split; and this he took for a sign that habit of bringing against themselves, to under- he was destined to burst asunder like Judas. stand literally all the strong expressions which The agitation of his nerves made all his moveare to be found in the Grace Abounding. It is ments tremulous; and this trembling, he sup quite clear, as Mr. Southey most justly re- posed, was a visible mark of his reprobation, marks, that Mr. Bunyan never was a vicious like that which had been set on Cain. At one man. He married very early; and he solemn- time, indeed, an encouraging voice seemed ly declares that he was strictly faithful to his to rush in at the window, like the noise of wife. He does not appear to have been a wind, but very pleasant, and commanded, as drunkard. He owns, indeed, that when a boy, he says, a great calm in his soul. At another he never spoke without an oath. But a single time, a word of comfort "was spoke loud admonition cured him of this bad habit for life; unto him; it showed a great word; it seemed and the cure must have been wrought early: to be writ in great letters." But these intervals for at eighteen he was in the army of the Par- of ease were short. His state, during two liament; and if he had carried the vice of years and a half, was generally the most horriprofaneness into that service, he would doubt- ble that the human mind can imagine. "I less have received something more than an walked," says he, with his own peculiar eloadmonition from Sergeant Bind-their-kings-in-quence, "to a neighbouring town; and sat chains, or Captain Hew-Agag-in-pieces-before- down upon a settle in the street, and fell into the-Lord. Bell-ringing, and playing at hockey a very deep pause about the most fearful state on Sundays, seem to have been the worst my sin had brought me to; and, aiter long vices of this depraved tinker. They would musing, I lifted up my head; but methought ] have passed for virtues with Archbishop Laud. saw as if the sun that shineth in the heavens It is quite clear that, from a very early age, did grudge to give me light; and as if the very Banyan was a man of a strict life and of a stones in the streets and tiles upon the houses tender conscience. "He had been," says Mr. did band themselves against me. Methought Southey, "a blackguard." Even this we think that they all combined together to banish me too hard a censure. Bunyan was not, we ad-out of the world! I was abhorred of them, and mit, so fine a gentleman as Lord Digby; yet unfit to dwell among them, because I had sin. he was a blackguard no otherwise than as ned against the Saviour. Oh, how happy now